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Non binary 12 year old on Today Program

(85 Posts)
PancakeAndKeith Thu 10-Oct-19 07:55:23

Quick post as I’m getting ready for work.

Boy said he was non binary and talked about how he didn’t feel that he fitted in.
However everyone referred to him by a male name and called him him.

It struck me that he was a very articulate and sensitive boy who was never going to fit in with the standard idea of masculinity. I wonder if he is struggling and the more gendered world of high school.

It’s a shame that children like him feel that they have to tie themselves in knots just because they don’t fit in with a stereotype.

nauticant Thu 10-Oct-19 07:58:40

One thing made me sigh and to me indicated that his parents are not necessarily guiding him as they should. In explaining what non-binary means he said that humans are animals and animals don't need to have two distinct sexes. Like worms.

This tweet on the non-binary segment was interesting:

twitter.com/SophieRunning/status/1182186574487937025

IfIShouldFallFromGraceWithGod Thu 10-Oct-19 08:01:49

That's true. Instead of saying you don't have to be a boy or, as I read in a FB group, asking toddlers if they are a girl or a boy😱
They should be saying you can like and play with anything you want. There are w no boys toys or pastimes, everything is ok

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 08:02:15

He’s a kid. All he knows about boys and girls at that age is ‘boys like football and blue’. He probably doesn’t like either - and I wonder if his school had a ‘special assembly’ by a particular group or ‘charity’?

ContessaLovesTheSunshine Thu 10-Oct-19 08:03:17

The thing that mildly amused me was that it was immediately followed by a Thought for the Day on the topic of mantras and how helpful they can be. Transwomen are women, perhaps?

FannyCann Thu 10-Oct-19 08:07:44

Is anyone teaching children about (human) sexual reproduction and contraception these days I wonder?

SlowasaSnail Thu 10-Oct-19 08:11:18

That boy articulated the feelings I had at his age. I was still sure I was a girl though. It’s a shame his parents aren’t affirming his biology as well as his right to reject social stereotypes.

ArnoldWhatshisknickers Thu 10-Oct-19 08:12:45

humans are animals and animals don't need to have two distinct sexes

Um, mammals do. What the hell are they teaching these days if a twelve year old doesn't know that?

SarahTancredi Thu 10-Oct-19 08:14:53

Um, mammals do. What the hell are they teaching these days if a twelve year old doesn't know that?

And again, who benefits from the fact they dont...

nauticant Thu 10-Oct-19 08:23:51

It was annoying that because the child obviously needed to handled with great sensitivity it was not possible to examine him on any of the stuff he was coming out with (which I assume had been absorbed from the Internet). The BBC interviewer said in a tweet she was "stunned by your maturity and bravery".

Apparently there's going to be a follow-up segment at the end of the Today programme, I think 8.50 was mentioned. Having heard the non-binary segment I'm not expecting informed discussion.

ArnoldWhatshisknickers Thu 10-Oct-19 08:28:51

If the lad is so stunningly mature and brave surely he can handle searching questions.

Could it be that he is not, in fact, mature and brave at all?

This habit of using children to push agendas is quite sinister.

TheRollingCrone Thu 10-Oct-19 08:37:57

What stood out for me was the father saying "it's easier for us as well" ! FFS NO - be a parent. It's easier to let your child not go into school/ stay out all night/ smoke weed all day/eat shite morning noon & night.

But we try to make sure they do the right thing, because that's it sometimes holding the line because we DO know what's best. I hate that already this little boy want out of the 'man box' cos he sees no place for himself sad

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 08:39:49

He is a child. He has come across this idea and thinks ‘I don’t fit in with boys*, must be a ‘they’ then’. He is reading this - most likely online, or getting info from charities/lobby groups who seem hell bent on shoving kids into gender boxes.

*I am assuming he is more of a bookworm/computer kid and not football mad, shoot em up gamer (or whatever boys are supposed to like). Of course he isn’t interested in girls (or boys) yet as he is only 12 (although some may, and others will pretend) and as with most kids ‘eeeooowwww I’m never going to have a girlfriend/boyfriend/get married’.

SisterWendyBuckett Thu 10-Oct-19 08:42:12

This habit of using children to push agendas is quite sinister.
Yes.

Interesting timing for Today programme.

It comes just as Cambridge Scholars has managed to overcome the long drawn out legal wrangles and can now publish Heather Brunskell-Evans' new book, Inventing Transgender Children and Young People.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 08:43:56

And before there was someone on (talking about isis captives) about how these people get radicalised as teenagers but grow out of it by mid 20s.

I was half listening but heard this comment.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 08:44:27

I am curious as to what the 8:50 slot will be (about to walk into office...)

BarbariansMum Thu 10-Oct-19 08:47:39

That item made me really cross. I dont blame the child for not identifying as either gender, I always felt like a really crummy girl because I never liked anything that girls were supposed to like (except, later, boys). But I just wish, wish, wish the BBC would distinguish bw gender and sex and structure interviews accordingly.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 08:50:36

We didn’t have this new fangled ‘gender’ when I was a kid 😉. Bowie wore a dress, every glam band seemed to have a bloke in heels and flounces, and even Dylan wore eyeliner...

My sister was a major league tomboy (and would have been ripe for these barmpots If they’d been around and if my parents had been idiots).

NellieEllie Thu 10-Oct-19 08:54:05

The boy was clearly from his language not a typical “boy” of that age. But the father’s clear insistence on use of “he” and “him” did make me wonder if he buys into it. But then , why let him on TV?

OrchidInTheSun Thu 10-Oct-19 08:54:39

Ooh they've got Steph Davies-arai on now!

ArnoldWhatshisknickers Thu 10-Oct-19 08:56:06

We didn’t have this new fangled ‘gender’ when I was a kid

Ha! Trans ideologists make me disturbingly nostalgic for the 80s, which were objectively shit.

But, oh my, Adam Ant as a dandy highwayman........I still have a crush near 40 years on.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 09:00:58

Even my very macho brother had waist length hair back in the 70s! Dear god my dad even got himself a man bag on France (he thought it was a genius idea)...

We played with action man. We had pogo sticks and robots. We loved meccano and were always climbing trees and making dens one the woods.

Bet he wishes he had that much hair now!!

AlwaysTawnyOwl Thu 10-Oct-19 09:01:47

Stephanie Davies Arai fantastic on the Today programme at 8:50 am

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 09:02:20

Hey I’m loitering with a coffee.

SEX SEX SEX not gender hahahahaha hahaha.

TheRollingCrone Thu 10-Oct-19 09:02:40

Arnold same here - the brilliant picture of Bowie & Angeles in the park. Him in a beautiful dress & full face An gie in a beautiful suit. Fuck where'd it all go wrong ?

BarbariansMum Thu 10-Oct-19 09:03:18

Dont kid yourself @LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD They might have let me climb trees but I wasnt allowed play football, or study graphic design, or woodwork (it was textile or parentcraft for girls), and computer club was only for the boys. Meanwhile the choir was girls only, drums were the only instrument boys ever played and any boy who tried to join a ballet or tap class would probably have been kicked to death on the playground.

TheRollingCrone Thu 10-Oct-19 09:03:20

*Angie

SisterWendyBuckett Thu 10-Oct-19 09:04:07

Stephanie D-A was fab - respectful but very clear about the difference between sex and gender.

terryleather Thu 10-Oct-19 09:07:52

Just caught the end of this.

Stephanie came over very well as she always does and got some great points in.

The interviewer asked about pressure groups with an agenda being in schools - I was quite surprised by that what with it being the BBC - however the headteacher present seemed to dismiss that suggestion hmm

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 09:08:09

I did techy drawing and physics... Girls and boys had to do sewing and woodwork...I never liked footie ( or did my brother) or hockey/netball for that matter (played netball and threw javelin/ran for the school - I got to throw javelin with the boys class. I also studied graphics afterwards.

I was actually a very girly wee girl too! Then I became very Feminist (when it was for the girls)...

I’d prefer to kick against sexism than all this nonsense today to be honest.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 09:09:10

☝🏻I do appreciate that even though this was AFN, deepest Scotland, I was luckier than a lot of girls. My big big sister now drives tractors.

ArnoldWhatshisknickers Thu 10-Oct-19 09:11:48

Girls did tech, boys home ec in my day.

But, when it came to PE no football or rugby for girls (which didn't bother me as I hate team sports) yet they made us play mixed hockey!

Nor were girls considered capable of running 400m for some reason. 200m and 800m were deemed OK for girls but not 400m. Never did really understand that one.

PaleBlueMoonlight Thu 10-Oct-19 09:15:02

That was really good. Stephanie really knows her stuff. The head bloke did not seem as well informed.

Ali1cedowntherabbithole Thu 10-Oct-19 09:24:44

Beware of rose tinted hindsight. My friends and I successfully campaigned to be allowed to do woodwork/TD/metalwork at secondary in the early eighties. Much to the chagrin of the boys who were suddenly required to study cooking & needlework.

But it was a limited victory. I was excluded from share club and computer programming.

And for all the love of Bowie and Adam Ant, Boy George was routinely referred to by some very in PC names and very few gay actors and pop stars were able to be open about their sexuality.

It was - and still is - hard when children don't fit the approved stereotype. And that shames all of us.

OrchidInTheSun Thu 10-Oct-19 09:29:23

Wow @terryleather - I noticed that. Nick Robinson was definitely making a point there. Good for him.

Wait for the TRA complaints to start pouring in

MouthyHarpy Thu 10-Oct-19 09:37:08

It struck me that he was a very articulate and sensitive boy who was never going to fit in with the standard idea of masculinity. I wonder if he is struggling and the more gendered world of high school

I just thought he is a victim of the mudding of sex and gender. And that a good feminist explanation, emphasising to him that he doesn't have to conform to any gender roles or stereotypes, would help him.

He sounded very bright but confused and very very young. I wondered about a borderline ASD.

He's obviously pre-pubescent. What will happen when the testosterone surges and he discovers himself as a sexual being? and that he might be attracted to other - sexed - humans? He might be gay, which is not a non-binary position.

I mean non-binary is bolleaux but I'm trying to start where he is. Because, it must be so so so difficult for parents and family who love their child, but need to help him adjust to the world and his body.

They need to look at "gender non-forming" not non-binary.

terryleather Thu 10-Oct-19 09:37:38

Ah it was NR I wasn't sure who it was..thanks Orchid.

I'm still hmmat the head teacher not thinking that pressure groups in schools could be a problem but glad NR at least raised the question.

The TAs live to froth so they will do what they do as ever!

SarahTancredi Thu 10-Oct-19 09:40:13

If theres a catch up link of the segments please can someone link.

SisterWendyBuckett Thu 10-Oct-19 09:45:45

* He might be gay, which is not a non-binary position.*

Loads of non-binary people are in gay relationships! Non-
binary is the 'gender', not the sexual preference.

MouthyHarpy Thu 10-Oct-19 09:46:07

He is a child. He has come across this idea and thinks ‘I don’t fit in with boys, must be a ‘they’ then’*

Yes, @LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD . I keep on thinking that there's a basic contradiction in this non-binary claim, and also transgender claims. Both actually play into a binary notion of sex and gender while trying to reject them.

If, as a man, you don't feel you fit into the gender role of masculinity as constructed at this particular historical moment then the non-binary & trans logic seems to be that therefore, you must be female/feminine.

I mean, HOW much more binary can you be? How much more sucked into a stupid limited notion of what it is to be HUMAN.

OrchidInTheSun Thu 10-Oct-19 09:49:36

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00094kl

The boy who thinks he's non binary was on about 7.45, Steph was on just before 9

SisterWendyBuckett Thu 10-Oct-19 09:50:02

As MouthHarpy says, it's a load of old (queer) bolleaux.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 10-Oct-19 09:50:45

I never doubted I was a girl because from about 9 I was mad on riding and no boys hung out at the stables. I loved learning to control a large, strong yet responsive animal. You feel very powerful. It's exhilarating. It was the only sport I've ever been any good at. When I was older I taught it and led pony treks during my summer holidays. It was fab.

I grew up when men wore eyeliner and had lovely long hair. DH had long hair and men with hair tumbling over their shoulders still give me the fanny gallops. grin

I also benefited from attending an all girls school where girls could be good at science and gendered expectations were slightly less.

We were split into an upper and lower set. The lower set did Domestic Science. I was in the upper set and we did Latin, which has proved useful in many contexts. Nobody did wood or metalwork.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 09:51:38

I guess you can say that you don't really fit into any gender stereotypes (but then isnt not fitting into a gender also a gender group?), but you cant say 'i have no bio sex'.

We distinguish between boys and girls, men and women - sometimes for rubbish reasons but sometimes for some very good reasons. Yes, question the rubbish reasons but don't try it on by calling a male a female SEX and demand access to the ladies loos, or pretend that 'were all the same'.

MouthyHarpy Thu 10-Oct-19 09:54:02

Loads of non-binary people are in gay relationships! Non-binary is the 'gender', not the sexual preference.

Most of the gay people I know (men & women) say that they are attracted to a specific sexed body.

Interestingly, as a side note, I don't know any gay man (with whom I"e discussed this) who would consider a transman as a sexual partner ...

OrchidInTheSun Thu 10-Oct-19 09:56:37

So on that link, at 1.43 and 2.53 smile

SisterWendyBuckett Thu 10-Oct-19 10:00:28

Most of the gay people I know (men & women) say that they are attracted to a specific sexed body.

This is the issue isn't it. If you haven't been infiltrated by queer theory then you will of course say your choice of partner is based on sexual attraction.

If you believe in the gender fairy, then you'll say something rather different regardless of the biological reality.

BarbariansMum Thu 10-Oct-19 10:31:43

Most people are attracted to a specifically sexed body. The reason I sleep solely with men is because I fancy their bodies - it's not that they ubiquitously have better personalities than women, or make better conversation or can carry heavier loads.

ArnoldWhatshisknickers Thu 10-Oct-19 10:34:29

Most people are attracted to a specifically sexed body

Indeed. That's why it is known as Sexuality not genderuality.

I'm attracted to the male sex, not masculinity.

TemporaryPermanent Thu 10-Oct-19 10:36:48

I do wonder about the influence of porn. I had some porn around me as a kid which was arousing but tended to make me think I must be a lesbian as all the porn I saw objectified women. If you just haven't reached the point of regular sexual feelings, or aren't particularly sexually focused except on people you love, if the lads around you are already sharing hellish violent porn I can see anyone withdrawing from the whole idea of being male.

Coffeeandchocolate9 Thu 10-Oct-19 10:42:17

In explaining what non-binary means he said that humans are animals and animals don't need to have two distinct sexes. Like worms.

Boy is this kid going to be pissed off when he realises he can't identify into being a worm.

Tootsweets23 Thu 10-Oct-19 10:48:59

The whole worm argument is just so bizarre. It is like saying horses have four legs, therefore so do humans.

ArnoldWhatshisknickers Thu 10-Oct-19 10:51:45

I just can't reconcile the 'he's so mature' with the 'he's so staggeringly ill informed he just compared humans to worms'.

LizzieSiddal Thu 10-Oct-19 11:02:09

The discussion at 8.50 was great, Stephanie was so clear. Hopefully the HT was listening and taking note.

BarbariansMum Thu 10-Oct-19 11:09:49

Actually I totally get why "non- binary" seems like a good option when you feel that your other choices are "toxic masculinity " on the one hand, and "hyper-femininity " on the other.

Tootsweets23 Thu 10-Oct-19 11:15:02

Yes Barbarian, agree. I think that's why so few people I know are binary as it is so unappealing. My issue is the anti-science stuff that is currently wrapped around the rejection of gender stereotypes. He is only 12 - it is his parents and teachers going along with the anti-science bollocks that are the problem.

SisterWendyBuckett Thu 10-Oct-19 11:19:51

One of the most important points Stephanie Davis-Arai made, is that identifying as non-binary is now increasingly leading to a medicalised path.

Especially concerning is the issue of mastectomy for young women, so they can achieve what they believe is a 'non-binary' body.

HumptyDumptyHadAGreatFall Thu 10-Oct-19 11:33:56

When I was in primary and early secondary I wished I was a boy.
In primary I thought it was so unfair the boys got to take their tops off when it was hot and girls weren't! And that they could wear shorts at school and girls couldn't. At 11/12 I felt it was easier to be a boy, boys could ask girls out, be bolder. Girls couldn't. I noticed how fat boys didn't get the teasing fat girls did.

Do I wish I was a boy now?! Hell no. Kids don't understand at that age, and I'm thankful when I was a child this wasn't a big thing as I'd of probably decided I was male and it would of been so cool and trendy 🙄 It's so hard and confusing for children these days. Children need to know they don't have to follow a gender stereotype in order to belong to that gender.

Coffeeandchocolate9 Thu 10-Oct-19 11:44:29

Actually I totally get why "non- binary" seems like a good option when you feel that your other choices are "toxic masculinity " on the one hand, and "hyper-femininity " on the other.

Yup.

It's just gutting that the response in schools etc to this is to e.g. follow mermaids etc rather than work to recognise that gender stereotypes harm everybody and to break those down.

BarbariansMum Thu 10-Oct-19 11:52:50

Gutting is putting it mildly. It seems entirely inexplicable to me. How much easier would it be to do away with gender stereotypes than to convince children that bodily mutilation is their path to peace and happiness?

Melroses Thu 10-Oct-19 12:09:31

Actually I totally get why "non- binary" seems like a good option when you feel that your other choices are "toxic masculinity " on the one hand, and "hyper-femininity " on the other.

If you look at the mermaid etc charts, with Barbie on one side and GI Joe on the other reinforcing this idea, then everyone is in between. Young children are very open to stereotypes when they are trying to work out what makes them male or female. I remember my little brother refusing to flush the toilet, then crying when I told him to, because "boys don't flush toilets" when he was about 5 years old grin hmm They are busy learning from what is around them.

Stephanie Arai-Davies was so good. She really does know her stuff and I think that explaining that 'non-binary' leads onto pathways of hormones and mastectomy, without coming over as sensationalist was really well handled.

MouthyHarpy Thu 10-Oct-19 12:14:32

Especially concerning is the issue of mastectomy for young women, so they can achieve what they believe is a 'non-binary' body.

Yes, SisterWendy - and a body without breasts (a female secondary sexual characteristic) is not "non-binary" - it's seeing a male body as the default or neutral or the "universal."

Goosefoot Thu 10-Oct-19 12:27:17

I just can't reconcile the 'he's so mature' with the 'he's so staggeringly ill informed he just compared humans to worms'.

I wonder if some people who say things like this just don't spend much time with children. Some children are very good at repeating what they hear around them from adults, and it's easy to mistake that for some kind of real insight or understanding. But they often don't understand the words in an adult way at all.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-19 12:49:53

* I just can't reconcile the 'he's so mature' with the 'he's so staggeringly ill informed he just compared humans to worms'.*

The very first book DD chose to bring home from the school library was 'The Life Cycle of the Snail'. Somehow even at 4 years old she wasn't in the least confused by the fact that they're hermaphrodites but most other creatures - including people - aren't. Neither did she have much time for stupid stereotypes as to what she should or shouldn't be interested in or wear.

ArnoldWhatshisknickers Thu 10-Oct-19 13:04:29

When my son was small he took a notion for a pet snail, so I figured what the hey, we can gather a few up and stick them in a pot with a lid, they're snails, they'll probably won't live long. Naturally his sister also insisted on having snails even though she thought they were slimy and horrible, so we ended up bring about a dozen home.

Hoo boy was I wrong about snails. Little buggers live forever and produce their entire body weight in shit every single day!

Still, my boy did get a nice certificate for 'interesting contributions to show and tell' out of it.

(I'll stop derailing now)

BarbariansMum Thu 10-Oct-19 13:04:51

Speaking as a zoologist, his grip on biology was no worse than that of the average person in the street.

PancakeAndKeith Thu 10-Oct-19 13:05:49

Actually I totally get why "non- binary" seems like a good option when you feel that your other choices are "toxic masculinity " on the one hand, and "hyper-femininity " on the other.

I completely agree.
It’s the stereotypes that need to change.
This boy should be happy being who he is and behaving the way he does. Not trying to slot into a new box.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 10-Oct-19 13:13:27

We had snails too, Arnold- they're great pets for small children, just liberate them when you go on holiday and collect some new ones when you return or if any expire. It's quite easy to set up a habitat for them. I can't imagine why anyone shells out(sorry) for those giant African ones.

We had a 'pregnant' woodlouse with tiny babies once too.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 13:17:36

@BarbariansMum oooh a zoologist? That sounds really interesting! I hope you get to work with interesting creatures (not aardvarks or sloths).

SarahTancredi Thu 10-Oct-19 14:57:15

Thank you to whoever's posted the link!!

I've just listened and I too was disturbed how little the head teacher seemed to know. He sounded unprepared next to stephanie who did well to get in how serious the non binary identity can be and what it can lead to. I dont think the head had realised that..

SarahTancredi Thu 10-Oct-19 15:06:17

I'm.also concerned about all this being done in public.

Between puberty blockers and being paraded on TV or radio or media as something special they constantly make it impossible for kids to every change their minds.

Why is this?

Why does it have to be so public. Its deliberately manipulative.

BarbariansMum Thu 10-Oct-19 15:13:04

Haha @LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD the thing about being a zoologist is that you think all sorts of animals are interesting. These days I mostly do ants, amphibians and reptiles and I think they're fascinating. An aardvark would be totally awesome but I dont think my wood ants would agree.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 15:13:59

Bats? What about bats??

squishee Thu 10-Oct-19 15:27:16

These questions about bats are nothing but whatabattery.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 15:37:54

Nope just curious. Genuinely.

LordProfFekkoThePenguinPhD Thu 10-Oct-19 15:38:12

Dog just got it! Arf 🦇

squishee Thu 10-Oct-19 16:01:21

And now it's dogs? Honestly.

squishee Thu 10-Oct-19 16:19:36

Anyway, to get back on-topic. As per a PP, how is it better to reject the binary reality so much as to become "trinary"?

BarbaraStrozzi Thu 10-Oct-19 16:33:43

"whatabattery". [grin,]

Coffeeandchocolate9 Thu 10-Oct-19 18:52:00

I asked my dog and she said despite a hysterectomy she's definitely still female. What a bitch.

SonicVersusGynaephobia Thu 10-Oct-19 19:16:26

and a body without breasts (a female secondary sexual characteristic) is not "non-binary" - it's seeing a male body as the default or neutral or the "universal."

Very good point "Mouthy*, hadn't occurred to me before.

It disturbed me in the Scottish census committee they had ths Scottish Trans Alliance non-binary (female) Vic Valentine in, and when someone (maybe Joan) mentioned that the data would be used for planning healthcare etc, Vic casually mentioned that lots of non-binary females probably have hysterectomies so sex data wasn't relevant for cervical screening numbers. hmm

Anyway... Stephanie was fantastic. Flawless. She came across as very caring and compassionate, and got all her points in clearly; it was great NR allowed her to speak.

truthisarevolutionaryact Thu 10-Oct-19 19:23:12

Just listened to this on catch up and yes, Stephanie was outstanding.
Clear, knowledgeable and respectful about children. She really knows her stuff.

MrGHardy Thu 10-Oct-19 20:19:26

"Boy said he was non binary and talked about how he didn’t feel that he fitted in."

NB is basically saying "my personality doesn't fit stereotypes of boy/girl".

That is all it is. The world is going crazy.

WineTastingNotTimeWasting Thu 10-Oct-19 23:17:47

Quite frankly he sounded like a pompous arse

Durgasarrow Thu 10-Oct-19 23:44:30

He can call himself whatever he wants, that doesn't make him something that doesn't fucking exist. Grown-ups shouldn't give airtime to children making shit up.

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